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Brady's mindset entering reunion game vs. Pats isn't surprising

/ by Darren Hartwell
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Tom Brady knows the drill.

He knows much will be made of his return to New England on Sunday as a member of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and of his 20 years with the Patriots that ended rather abruptly in March 2020.

Any feelings Brady has about his former teammates and coaches won't change his approach for Sunday night's game, however.

Brady explains how his exit from Patriots was handled

"I have nothing but incredible thoughts, memories, emotions towards all the football experiences I've had," Brady told reporters at his press conference Thursday. "(New England) obviously is the one that's the longest, and I still have a lot of great friends there. 

"But they know I want to kick their butt this week. They'll know exactly how I'm feeling once I'm out there."

That answer shouldn't surprise anyone who watched Brady operate in New England. Much like his former coach, Bill Belichick, Brady is solely motivated to beat his next opponent, even (especially?) if that opponent features some of his closest friends.

Brady still has plenty of respect for the players he overlapped with in New England, however. The 44-year-old QB listed nearly every Patriots defensive player while describing the challenge of facing their defense and admitted it will be nice to catch up with his ex-teammates after Sunday's game is over.

They know I want to kick their butt this week.

Tom Brady on facing the Patriots

"Obviously I understand the opponent, and I know all those guys," Brady said. "They're some of my great friends. They will be for the rest of my life. I know a lot of coaches, players, the owners, the staff. It'll be great to see everyone after the game.

 

"But up until the game, I'm focused on trying to go win a football game."

The Patriots feel the same way about Brady -- especially running backs coach Ivan Fears.

"I love Tom Brady. I always have," Fears said earlier this week. "... But right now, that SOB is on the enemy. So however you put it, he's the enemy.

"I still love him, I think he's a great person, but I'm not going to be sharing any love when it comes to game time. We'll share that love afterwards when it's all said and done."

The Bucs are heavy favorites entering Sunday night's matchup, so the odds are in favor a Brady butt-kicking in Foxboro.